Consultant Thursdays: The Not So Glamorous Life

So why am I  posting a Consultant Thursday blog late? Just because I haven’t posted in two weeks, I haven’t lost track of time. I just think the reason for my absence is a good blog topic: Burn Out. I’ve been juggling four different projects for the last two months. In order to make it work, I had to be very disciplined,  efficient,  and organized. My calendar was color blocked from 8:00 a.m. til 11:00 p.m on most days. If something doesn’t go according to plan, or if there’s a shift in schedule, then I’d work until the wee morning hours. There were a couple of days where I worked a straight 14 hours, sleep 3 hours, then get up and do it again. There are also days where I did nothing to give my brain a rest.

This is not out of the ordinary, really.  It’s just part of being a consultant.

Projects never come in a steady rate. It’s either feast or famine. When times are good, you juggle multiple projects. You have to be able to switch gears from one moment to the next; all the requirements and production issues competing for attention in your head.

So why don’t I just turn down work?

I never turn down projects where:

  • The team is stellar
  • I have a chance to learn something new
  • There’s an opportunity to develop a new relationship with a  high profile company.

When you work for yourself, every relationship, everything you do is a business development opportunity.

Hearing all this talk about my crazy life as a consultant, most people would say  why I do it. I don’t mind working hard as long as I’m learning. The money is good, but it’s not about the money for me. The sole reason why I am a contractor is because I own my time. I can work really hard when it counts. When  there is  down time, I can truly give my brain a rest, have the luxury of researching creative solutions, and not dwell in bureaucracy land.  Or I can just take two weeks off without filling out a vacation request.

I believe that you have to work hard to be lucky. It’s a lot like karma.